AFAM 375

The Harlem Renaissance

This course examines the renaissance of African American literature, music, and visual art that, for the most part, emerges from Harlem, a cultural hub in the 1920s and 1930s. The course also approaches the literature, music, and visual art, as well as the social changes in Harlem, from different disciplinary perspectives, including literary criticism, cultural history, music criticism, art criticism, and aesthetic theory. Students explore social and aesthetic debates that arose during the Harlem Renaissance and connect these to parallel debates today. Students also make connections between and among different artists and thinkers of the period, including Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Jean Toomer, Jessie Redmon Fauset, Wallace Thurman, Claude McKay, Sargent Johnson, Romare Bearden, Cab Calloway, Bessie Smith, and Walter White. The course invites students to make connections between literature, visual art, and music from the period and between the Harlem Renaissance and their own ideas about art and society.